January 23, 2023
British Government must respect Council of Europe calls on Brexit, Protocol and Human Rights – Senator Paul Gavan

Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan has called on the British Government to respect the clear calls made in a report adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), with regard to the impact of Brexit on human rights in Ireland.

The report, entitled “The Impact of Brexit on human rights on the island of Ireland,” was endorsed by more than a two to one majority of members of the assembly.

It is highly critical of the British Government with regard to its stance on the Protocol, it’s so called Legacy Bill and unilateral actions that could undermine the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking at the commencement of the winter session of PACE in Strasbourg, Senator Gavan said: 

“The report has sent a clear message to the British Government regarding the absolute need to respect human rights, respect the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, protect the Good Friday Agreement, and refrain from taking unilateral action.

“The people of the North of Ireland did not vote for Brexit. So it is entirely appropriate that this report calls for the smooth and efficient implementation of the Protocol. 

“The report also highlights that the British government’s previous attempts to pursue a unilateral policy to change core elements of the Protocol constitutes a clear breach of international law.

“The report also cites ‘serious concerns’ regarding the compatibility of the British Government’s so called Legacy Bill with the European Convention on Human Rights. 

“This Bill of Shame which would, uniquely in the world and against all principles of domestic and international law, close down all routes to justice for people bereaved in the conflict should now be shelved without further delay. 

“There is not one single party in Ireland, north of south, who supports this appalling Bill which again constitutes a breach of the Good Friday Agreement.

“The report also makes a clear call for the immediate re-establishment of the Assembly for the North.

“The coming weeks may be crucial in potentially resolving issues around the Protocol, but the wider implications of Brexit with regard to human rights, the continuing denial of justice to so many families in the North, and the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement are all called out in this report.

“The British Government, as member of the Council of Europe, must respect the key demands in this report and immediately refrain from any further unilateral action.”

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